Questions tagged [world-war-two]

Questions related to aspects of World War II (1939-1945 AD). An international conflict whose major participants were the fascist countries of Germany, Italy, and Japan engaged against the allied nations of the UK, France, China, the USSR, and the USA. The conflict began with the German invasion of Poland and formally ended with the American victory over Japan.

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Why did Fall Blau start at Voronezh instead of further south?

The main objectives of Fall Blau, the German 1942 summer offensive, were the Volga River, to cut off Soviet oil supplies from further south, and the Caucasus oil fields themselves, for German use. ...
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1answer
806 views

How important was the Suez Canal to the Allies during WWII?

The Suez Canal allows one to travel from the Mediterranean or North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean without having to circumvent the continent of Africa. A ship traveling from the UK to India could ...
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How did militaries dispose of their rubbish in WWII?

Just wondering about this recently - An army must create a lot of rubbish. Disposable food packaging, ammunition packaging and shell cases, etc. How did militaries dispose of rubbish during WWII? ...
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How many rapes did the Wehrmacht commit in the Soviet Union during World War II?

German Wikipedia says that until 1944 5394 German soldiers were convicted for "moral crimes", but the Wehrmacht leadership regarded that sexual crimes in accordance with the racial ideology (...
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What were Helfrich's orders for Doorman in 1942 prior to the Battle of the Java Sea, and did he comment on these in later life?

I've been trying to understand what went in prior to the Japanese invasion of Java. From my understanding thus far, Vice-Admiraal (Vice Admiral) Conrad Helfrich took command of the ABDA naval forces ...
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Why was there a fierce resistance to Axis occupation in Yugoslavia during World War II? [closed]

First of all the resistance against Germans and Italians erupts straight after the conquering of the country, whereas per example at nearby Greece the guerrilla groups become numerous only at 1943. ...
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3answers
860 views

Was the French Commander-in-Chief Gamelin a terrible general?

While doing some research on France's defeat in 1940, I saw that some harshly criticize the French Commander-in-Chief Gamelin and blame him for its speedy downfall (of course there isn't only one ...
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Where were Allied soldiers in Switzerland typically kept?

I've been researching for a short story, but I've been having trouble working out the exact trajectory of POWs who escaped from German camps into Switzerland. I know many were put up in hotels for the ...
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In the Battle of the Coral Sea, how could two Japanese scouts grossly mis-identify two American ships?

I've been reading the Wikipedia pages about the Pacific theatre in WW2; in the page describing the battle of the Coral Sea there is the following passage: [...] the scout [from Shōkaku] confirmed ...
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1answer
227 views

What tanks/armored vehicles are in these pictures?

Need help in identifying the tanks/armored vehicles in the picture. Date - 11 Aug 2019 Location - Birmenstorf, Switzerland Event - “A Convoy to remember” commemorating 75 Anniversary of WW2 Normandy ...
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Why did the Irish Free State suppress news of the Holocaust in 1945? Reaction once it became known?

Paul Bew's book Churchill and Ireland mentions the following in connection with the Irish Free State (forerunner of the present Republic of Ireland)'s Prime Minister De Valera's visit to the German ...
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Proportionally speaking, how many European refugees were accepted by Middle Eastern and African countries during World War 2?

It is often claimed that Europe must accept refugees because the Middle East and Africa has accepted European refugees during World War 2. But are there any precise statistics to show how many ...
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Could the Soviet Union have supported Czechoslovakia primarily by air in 1938?

The Soviet Union was bound by treaty to support Czechoslovakia in 1938. One "sticking point" was that the Soviet Union would have to cross Polish and/or Romanian territory to do so. Was ...
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Why did few French and no Dutch pilots (but many Poles and Czechs) take part in the Battle of Britain?

Among the non-British pilots, at least 141 were Polish, 84 Czech and 28 Belgian, but only 13 were French and none were Dutch, Norwegian or Danish. The reasons why there were many Polish, Czech and ...
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1answer
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Please help with identifying this uniform, taken in Turkey 1940s

My Greek uncle worked in the American Embassy in Turkey and this picture I believe was taken in the embassy, circa 1940s - he was about 20+ then. I have researched epaulettes, uniforms of the Turkish ...
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What was the longest a World War II submarine stayed at sea without being resupplied at a port?

The US Balao-class and Gato-class submarines had enough provisions to stay on patrol for 75 days under normal operating conditions. Information on other long-range submarines has proved hard to find, ...
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638 views

What accounts exist of blowpipe vs machine gun and rifle in World War 2?

If you check this documentary, you'll see that Borneo natives used blowpipes vs Japanese during 1944-1945. I find this sort of engagement fascinating, since the poison used in the blowpipe dart must ...
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Did the Soviet Union hand over thousands of Jews to the Nazis in the spirit of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact?

The most recent episode of the Italian documentary TV series Ulisse - Il piacere della scoperta (Ulysses - The pleasure of discovery) covered the deportation of Jews from Italy, and at some point it ...
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Did the Allies benefit, by having Italy fight on Germany's side rather than remain neutral?

All things considered and with perfect hindsight, did the Allies benefit, by having Italy fight on Germany's side rather than remain neutral? I was inspired to ask this question after reading Paul ...
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Was the M4 Sherman used frequently in artillery capacity?

I've heard the M4 Sherman had instruments on it that allowed it to act as an artillery piece. Is there any evidence to suggest this was effective? I've heard that the Sherman had of course, its High ...
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Was the Volga really Russia's last line of defense before the Urals?

That was a claim made by General Vasily Chuikov in "The Battle For Stalingrad." He even went so far as to postulate a German column heading for Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), toward the Chinese border. That ...
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Why couldn't the Allies clear out D-Day gun emplacements before landing troops? [closed]

It's common knowledge that the D-Day assaults on the beaches were a horrific "meat grinder" due to Allied troops having to face the suicidal conditions of charging gun emplacements on high ground ...
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11answers
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Why didn't Germany attack Turkey during WW2?

Most of us might have heard something about the Geo-strategic position of Turkey. She connects two continents to each other and provides a bridge between the relatively advanced Europe and the ...
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2answers
435 views

Did Midway provide the strategic opportunity Japan sought? [closed]

We all know that the Battle of Midway was a disaster for the Japanese Empire, and a turning point of the Pacific War. Events did not turn out as the IJN had hoped. But the result by no means was a ...
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Why are so many questions I ask on the “History” Stack Site mysteriously deleted without a trace? [migrated]

I often ask questions on Stack Exchange sites. Sometimes several a day, but certainly a good number per month. I have noticed that, in particular in the "History" category, my questions are not only "...
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Why was capturing the south of Okinawa necessary?

The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest and most difficult of WW2. But, if I understand correctly, most of the casualties were incurred during the fighting for the southern part of the island. ...
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Did Poland help Germany take Czechoslavakia before Germany invaded Poland?

In March of 1939, "with Germany's permission" (WW2 for dummies), Poland invaded Czechoslovakia while Germany was annexing the Sudetenland per the Munich agreement. Only 6 months later, in September, ...
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1answer
892 views

What was the Lena River Delta U-boat base in the Arctic used for? [closed]

In 1963 the body of a German navy NCO was found in Neelova Gulf with the remnants of his uniform and rifle ammunition. In 1985 Soviet helicopter pilot Peter Statsyukom discovered a small complex of ...
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5answers
199 views

Up to what levels were World War II commanders known for fighting at the battle front? [closed]

I've heard someone saying: The general is at the front, the colonel is at the front, the captain is at the front. Our heroes in the second world war were at the front in the battlefield. Don't ...
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3answers
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Why did the film “The Longest Day” have the “cricket” training scene if the Allies received no intelligence about the hedgerows in Normandy?

I'm reading Stephen E. Ambrose's book "Citizen Soldiers" and he says that the allies had no intelligence about the high hedgerows in Normandy. This shocked me, because I remember clearly the scene in ...
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Why couldn't Japan crack the Navajo Code in WW2, when they captured a Navajo native speaker?

All quotes come from r/askhistorians comment by User druidofdarrowdelf, but it doesn't answer my own questions. The Japanese captured a Navajo POW, Joe Kieyoomia, who wasn't part of the Code Talker ...
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What intelligence successes did the Axis have in WW2?

Most of us are aware of multiple Allied intelligence victories in WW2. But no such things about the Axis? Were they that inefficient? I have read various theories how Abwehr members were themselves ...
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1answer
170 views

How were soldiers positioned on a platoon-sized amphibious landing craft in WWII?

Did the military think through who might need to have the highest survival rate as they offloaded onto a defended beach? Were the men with different roles (radio, machine gun, medic, platoon leader, ...
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2answers
293 views

Were fighters used as a carrier group defense tactic? [closed]

Okay, i know this is probably a silly question, but were carrier based fighters ever used as a defense during an air attack combined with the use of ship based AA weapons. I mean, i know they probably ...
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4answers
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Why was the British army so short of rifles after Dunkirk?

After the battle of Dunkirk, the U.S. shipped something like 500,000 rifles to Britain. This compares to about 400,000 Allied troops at the port (counting captured French), 338,226 actually rescued, ...
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1answer
50 views

Which names are correct? Mala vs Malka Zimetbaum and Edward vs Eduard Galinski?

I was deeply affected by the story of Mala Zimetbaum and Edward Galinski in Auschwitz. However, the telegram informing about the escape of Mala mentions her name as Malka Zimetbaum. The telegram ...
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1answer
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How many pens were used by MacArthur to end the final chapter of World War II and where are they now?

General Douglas MacArthur counter-signs the Japanese instrument of surrender as Supreme Allied Commander aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. Standing behind him are Generals ...
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2answers
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Hand signal for suppressing enemy position in World War 2

I've seen this in some movies and video games about world war 2. Basically whenever a ranking officer wanted to signal his troops to suppress an enemy position, he would sort of punch 2-3 times in ...
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1answer
189 views

Did British WWII generals have a choice which uniform to wear?

Could the generals of the British army choose what kind of uniform to wear? I am mainly asking because Bernard Montgomery is very often photographed in a battle dress even in very official events like ...
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6answers
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What was the reason for Soviet troops to withdraw from Yugoslavia in World War II?

For all these countries that the Red Army entered (Poland, Romania, part of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary), the procedure was straightforward. Once the Soviets beat the Germans they become de facto ...
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1answer
387 views

How much debt did Italy remit Germany in the London Debt Agreement?

Italy was one of the signatories of the London Debt Agreement in 1953, pardoning part of previous German debts. Is there an estimate of the amount owed by Germany to Italy? Various sources cite the ...
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6answers
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Were the NKVD hated by the regular army like the SS was?

I remember reading about how the Wehrmacht and the SS soldiers never got along, and I was wondering if it was the same way in the Soviet Union, with the regular Red Army not liking the NKVD?
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Did war bonds have better investment alternatives during WWII?

The American government put a lot of effort into convincing the American populace to purchase WWII bonds. But did American citizens have good alternatives for investment during the same years? For ...
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5answers
338 views

Was the danger of Germany bombing the US East Coast taken seriously and were measures taken to address it?

In this CNN article an old lady from Dillon, South Carolina, recalls her memories from World War II and mentions not just fearing bombs from airplanes, but actual measures being taken against aerial ...
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6answers
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Was there a plan “B” for the D-Day?

I could find only debates on the subject whether there was a plan "B" or not in case D-Day landing would have had actually failed. I wonder if there was an idea to make an alternative invasion plan. ...
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1answer
6k views

How did Italy and Germany get rubber in WWII?

Japan invaded Southeast Asia and Indonesia to obtain rubber in WWII. Germany and Italy clearly used large amounts of rubber in WWII to build vehicles and planes, but in the 1940s rubber was only ...
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1answer
169 views

Why didn't Hitler decide to wait until after winning WW2 to implement the final solution? [closed]

My question is based on the following assumptions. Hitler believed he will eventually win WW2. Hitler wanted to implement the final solution as part of the Nazi ideology. Implementing the final ...
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2answers
285 views

What were French collaborators specifically accused of after the Liberation of France in WWII?

I came across the title of a book, 'France: The Tragic Years, 1939-1947' by Sisley Huddleston, which struck me as odd, as I supposed France's tragedy to have ended with the retreat of the Germans in ...
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0answers
105 views

Why has Witold Pilecki not been included in the Righteous Among the Nations? [closed]

Witold Pilecki was a Polish resistance fighter who volunteered to enter the Auschwitz I concentration camp. From there, he organised a resistance movement and gathered intelligence on the atrocities ...
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1answer
215 views

What is this medal ribbon? WAAF

This is my mother in 1944 or 1945. I never knew she was entitled to wear a medal ribbon. Being black and white, I have to take a guess based on the layout, and I think it may be the Defence Medal but ...

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